Tradition is abandoned as cutbacks end judges’ march

Judges Procession 2013
Judges Procession 2013
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Council cutbacks have forced the legal profession to abandon the historic judges’ procession through Preston.

The annual walk through city centre streets to mark the official start of the legal year will not take place in October because the cost of policing it is too great.

Recorder of Preston, Judge Anthony Russell, explained: “Unfortunately, because of the need to reduce expenditure, Preston City Council is no longer able to bear the costs of closing the streets and providing marshals for the procession to an from the church, or to meet the costs of policing for the occasion.

“It would be unwise to process without this support and I am not prepared to risk a security breach.”

The procession of judges in full robes walking to the city’s Minster for the reading of the Proclamation has become an annual tradition in Lancashire’s major law courts centre. Now the judges will only parade around the Minster on October 2 before going inside for the service.

Judge Russell added: “I appreciate that the abandonment of the procession will be a cause of disappointment to many. However I do understand the difficulties that the council faces, since the cost of policing and stewarding the event is difficult to justify in times of austerity.

“I hope that the magistracy and lieutenancy will continue to support this event in good numbers, otherwise it will wither away altogether, which will prevent the resurrection of the procession in the future if economic circumstances permit.”

Tory councillor Christine Abram blamed the ruling Labour group for removing funding from the event. She said: “This is just another tradition lost to Preston. Once it is gone, it is gone.”